It's that time again, time to check in with ways to keep working from home fresh.
It's been over two years since we started working remote at ArcStone. Some companies returned to the office, and others opted for a hybrid schedule. We decided to take a remote-first approach.
As much as we all LOVE (with a capital L) working from home, there are some downsides. For example, sometimes it's tough not to feel a little like Groundhog Day, logging into Zoom every Monday at 8:47 a.m.
Given that research shows that 97.6 percent of workers want to work remote at least some of the time, so we need to get better at it. So, what can you do to keep working from home and feeling fresh?
Change Your Mindset
Pretend that you're going to go into the office for work. That's right. Change out of your pajamas and into something more professional. This tiny shift will put you into work mode, making you feel more confident and productive. Plus, you'll be ready to go if you need to leave the house.
Remember when we all started working from home at the beginning of the pandemic? We worked in kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms - pretty much anywhere with Wi-Fi. While this was fine at first, working on a laptop at the kitchen counter isn't sustainable. If you're working from home and don't have a designated workspace, it's time to make some updates.
Choose a specific place to work. If a room with a door is impossible, opt for a place where you're not in the busiest area of your home. Make sure you have a desk, comfortable chair, and good lighting.
If you share your workspace with roommates or family, communicate your expectations. This will help them to respect your space during work hours. Remind them that because you're at home doesn't mean you're available.
Consider creating ground rules around quiet times, schedules, and space. Doing so will help reduce friction.
Determine Start and End Times
This is critical, especially if you share your space with others. Starting at the same time every day will also make it easier for others to collaborate with you.
Likewise, ending at the same time will help you maintain a balanced lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of burnout.
I create bookends by starting my day by walking my dog and ending my day with yoga.
It can be difficult not to get sucked into all the distractions that may happen at home. Turn off phone notifications, log out of social media accounts, and close browser tabs. Designate breaks with quick household chores, such as throwing in a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher. Make coffee before starting your day.
Choose your playlist wisely if you listen to music while you work. Instrumental music is a solid choice if you're reading or writing.
Switch it up
One huge advantage to working from home is the ability to switch up your location. When I'm feeling stuck, the first thing I do is change my setting. This tiny change can shift your perspective and give you that juice you need.
Move Your Body
Remote employees save an average of 40 minutes per day from not having to commute. Saving this precious time is one of the most compelling reasons people prefer to work remote.
Use this extra time to take a walk, do yoga, or however you prefer to move your body.
Deep Work Sessions
Working remote is awesome until you encounter distractions. If you want to up your productivity, join a virtual heads-down deep work session. These sessions focus on mono-tasking while being in community. During deep work sessions, you'll be asked to remove distractions and focus on one task for a set amount of time.
Work with Your Natural Rhythms
Consider when you're most productive and schedule your day around your natural rhythms. For example, tackle your difficult strategic work first thing in the morning. Then, if you have lower energy after lunch, use that time to return phone calls or respond to emails.
Prep Your Day
If you prep your day the night before, you won't waste time prioritizing what you should do first in the morning. Preparing for your day also ensures that you won't miss other important tasks.
Let's face it. Zoom was a Godsend in March of 2020, but we're all pretty sick of it these days. Make a point to connect with people in real life. Zoom is no substitute! At ArcStone, our office space serves as a landing pad where our team can get together.
For me, connecting with a couple of people a couple of times a week is nourishing and offers a richer experience.